Have you ever had a conversation with someone and it didn’t go the way you would have liked? And instead of just letting it go, it replays in your head over and over again like a broken record? Nothing concrete has changed though. Every time I relived the experience in my head, I would only get more annoyed, frustrated, and upset about how things played out. I think about what I would like to change and chances are the person I am thinking about does not even know I am putting this much thought into the exchange! They are living in my head and they have no idea.
This is a major waste of time and energy. What can I do about it? I do not like feeling so annoyed, icky, and allowing someone to live in my head rent free.
At an auspicious time in my life, the universe smiled on me and timing worked out in such a way that I was able to learn what I really care about with the help of a close girlfriend training to become a life coach. I consider her a sister and I am so blessed to benefit from her training and support. Through her guidance I am able to understand why I react the way I do and I can change how I behave regarding interpersonal relationships in my life. This is a skill I am still working on, but it has made a huge difference in my life.
The exercise is called value mining and it is exactly what it sounds like. I uncovered my values, but where do you begin? How does one understand what they feel is really important to them? Here’s my step-by-step guide.
How To Understand What Really Matters (to achieve conflict resolution)
Step 1: Think about a time in your life where you felt on top of the world. Everything was absolutely amazing! Hold this image/moment in my mind and think about how you felt in this “perfect” moment. I thought of two different situations and wrote down how I felt: content, joyful, proactive, confident, invincible, in control, maternal, connected, on a team, and united.
Step 2: Of those feelings, what are the three most important to you (in no particular order)? These are my top 3 values: being proactive, feeling confident, and being maternal.
Step 3: Now think about a situation you did not feel good about. In a similar fashion, hold this moment in your mind and think about what you were feeling then. This feeling is brought on by your saboteur. Your saboteur is how you feel when someone or something is rubbing against your core values (in my case the values of being proactive, confident and maternal). Your saboteur does not respect you and challenges you, as if your feelings, your values, do not matter. Your saboteur is the one responsible for replaying uncomfortable situations in your head on repeat. When my values are challenged, I experience a visceral reaction. Every cell in my body is on high-alert and I feel like an electric bolt is running through me. My saboteur wields a lot of power in my psyche. I do not like him at all. How do you feel when your saboteur is present?
I have named my saboteur Grohl and he looks like a monster (you can visualize anything, a person, animal, or something amorphous like a dark cloud or something like a Dementor from Harry Potter). I drew a doodle of Grohl below. My saboteur tells me I am flawed, I cannot do anything right, he will never be satisfied.
Step 4: What is YOUR dream situation? In my dream world, I would be able to rise above my saboteur and not be impacted by the venomous nastiness he spews. I want to be able to tell Grohl to respect my choices, understand I have done nothing wrong, and allow me to live my life without questioning my decisions. I want to hit Grohl with a bat! However, there are barriers like years of guilt and bad patterns at play. So, I need to accept Grohl’s inability to see things my way.
Step 5: Identify your inner critic’s gift. You cannot make your dream situation a reality because you cannot change other people. Grohl is incredibly stubborn. So, what do I learn from this situation? Grohl’s gift is perspective on what I can impact and what I cannot change. What gift does your saboteur/inner critic bring you?
Step 6: When I find myself in a situation where I begin to feel Grohl creeping in, I pause. Do not react to what is happening and take a minute to think about which value is being rubbed against in this very moment. You are essentially giving yourself a time out. This gives me enough breathing room to really see the situation for what it is and what really matters to me. This might help you, too.
In conclusion, I know what my values are and what I cannot impact. I am not going to compromise my values and Grohl is just silly for thinking he can change who I am at my core. I will not stand for it. So, if Grohl wants to hang out and try to make me feel bad or force me to do something I really do not want to do – it’s OK because I understand why Grohl is there. I cannot change others, but my values are more important to me than allowing Grohl to dictate my life.
Do I still get annoyed? Of course I do! At least now I understand why and I have skills and tools in place to help me process and ultimately feel less annoyed and truly let it go (it’s amazing how Disney’s Frozen manages to permeate every part of my life). It’s a work in progress, but I am stopping the broken record and working on what I can change: only myself.
Give these steps a try and see if it helps you gain a new perspective and handle on any things you struggle with!
Here are some anti-Grohl photos which warm my heart and remind me of what truly matters.